Massachusetts legislators urge FEMA to supply ventilators before predicted surge

Massachusetts News
Massachusetts coronavirus

Massachusetts coronavirus. (Fusion Medical Animation/Unsplash/Clker-Free-Vector-Images/Pixabay)

Boston, MA (NEWS10) — Political leaders in Massachusetts want the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give the state more ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile.

As of Monday, the Department of Public Health reports nearly 14,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 260 deaths. Berkshire County has had 268 individuals test positive for the virus. The state is preparing for a surge in hospitalizations:

We have heard from hospitals in the state that they will run out of invasive ventilators in a matter of days and will run out of other ventilators that can be adapted for use for COVID-19 patients within a week.

Letter to FEMA from Massachusetts legislators

The Department expects the virus to peak in coming days, infecting somewhere between 47,000 and 172,000 residents, which represents up to 2.5% of the population. Gov. Charlie Baker recently projected the deluge somewhere around April 10 through April 20. Baker says the state could potentially lose up to 2,580 residents to the virus during that time frame.

Though originally promised 1,000 ventilators—of a requested 1,700—lawmakers say FEMA and the federal Department of Health and Human Services have backtracked, saying the state will only receive 100.

The Trump Administration has over 9,000 ventilators available in the stockpile.

“Given the growing need in Massachusetts, approving and sending only 100 ventilators to Massachusetts is absurd, and FEMA can and must do more to help Massachusetts during this crisis.”

Letter to FEMA from Massachusetts legislators

Leaders who signed the letter—which reiterates an earlier request from the Department of Public Health—include Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and Reps. Richard Neal, James McGovern, Seth Moulton, Stephen Lynch, William Keating, Joseph Kennedy III, Katherine Clark, Ayanna Pressley, and Lori Trahan.

Senator Warren also called for an inquiry from the Office of the Inspector General into potential partisan political machinations disrupting oversight of the national stockpile:

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